SHOPPERS in small regional centres across Queensland have won the right to spend up big on Boxing Day bargains this year.
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission ruled that ruled Coles, Woolworths, Big W, Target and Kmart can open in areas including Goondiwindi, Childers, Proserpine and Pittsworth from 8am-5pm on the Boxing Day holiday that falls on Tuesday December 27.
Tuesday was declared a public holiday because Christmas Day is on a Sunday this year.
If the commission had not granted the National Retail Association application, some of Australia's biggest stores would have remained shut in some areas on what is usually one of the year's biggest trading days.
Stores in major urban and tourist centres were already allowed to open and the NRA argued this meant other customers would be disadvantaged.
Commissioner Graeme Neate said there was clear evidence that regional consumers wanted to make the best of post-Christmas sales and that the large chains relied on the cash boost generated across Boxing Day.
Mr Neate dismissed Masters Grocers Australia's concerns about a drop-off in trade for small outlets such as Foodworks and IGA.
"Although experience suggests that the volume of business at smaller supermarkets would drop if non-exempt stores were trading, the statistical evidence .... demonstrates that is not always the case," Mr Neate wrote in his judgment.
"I accept that in 2016 customers generally expect that, consistently with normal trading patterns, stores would be trading immediately after the actual Christmas Day and Boxing Day."
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the decision was a win for shoppers and workers.
"The NRA listens to what people want and talks with shoppers, store owners and employees to help understand what people need and want in terms of their shopping," Ms Lamb said.
"There was a lot of concern about the three-day closure, so we're glad we were able to get this application approved.
"The ruling is a win for regional Queenslanders who will now be able to enjoy one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
"It's also a great opportunity for employees who are looking to make some extra money around Christmas time."
- ARM NEWSDESK